On Friday I had an amazing evening of culture; student art followed by new stand up comedy. The art was at the Northumbria University Visual Arts Degree Show, the comedy was a new act night at The Grinning Idiot. Starting out in comedy I plan to see as much stand up as I can, and talking of starting out my first set (of 2010 at least) is this Thursday.
After the show finished I met one of the acts at the Metro so we talked on the way home together. It was his first time performing on stage. The reason he did it was because he is wanting to do as many things as he can that scare him silly, to put it nicely. So doing stand up was a tick on his list and by the sounds of things hes going to keep on doing it. For him, he didn't want a big crowd, he had originally thought England were playing that night and so not many people would show up. There was 17 of us as it turned out, many of which I know by name thanks to the MC. There were 3 Graham's in the audience would you believe. He was pleased with the size of the audience, he didn't find it intimidating. I personally seem to thrive off larger groups. In all the plays and sketch shows over the years I have always made sure anybody who was free came to see the show. This Thursday is no different.
The first time I did stand up there was an audience of over 100, a great size for an audience. I should mention that next Thursday will be my 4th official time of doing stand up, the first being at an art/music/culture night, the second at an improv comedy night and the third at a memorial celebration in a church hall. So I guess this will be the first time people will have come and expected to see a stand up comedian. All of my material is untested, no one has heard it yet so it might seem odd that I'm inviting people I know rather than test it on unknowns. I think I'm eager to get feedback, actually get told what works and what doesn't.
In the grand scheme there are going to be few times I will be performing in front of people I know. I need to get myself performing in front of crowds like Friday night. A small crowd of complete strangers. Small crowds are fascinating. They might be finding it hilarious but showing no signs of audible laughter, which must be hard for a stand up. I'm yet to experience that. I'm yet to experience a lot. How will I deal with my first heckle? No idea. No ones laughing? How does that feel? I aspire for the big crowds, I think anyone would once they get going, but I don't want to neglect the small crowds, I feel they have a lot to offer. A group of 17 people is a great size to try out new material, especially if half of them are named Graham, they laugh at anything.
I look forward to performing in front of anyone, be the group 100 strong or 10. I say bring on 1000! It's such an exciting time, I can't wait to get started!